The state of New Mexico requires every motorist to carry liability insurance, yet 21.6% of all drivers in New Mexico don’t carry any liability insurance.
Even those who carry motorist insurance might find themselves in a difficult situation if they’re in an accident with someone who doesn’t.
However, in response to New Mexico’s high rate of uninsured drivers, the state offers strong uninsured motorist protections. Before you reject your insurance company’s uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, read some information from our car accident attorneys at the Las Cruces-based Harmonson Law Firm below.
What Is UM/UIM Insurance?
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist insurance is sometimes abbreviated as UM/UIM insurance.
If you are involved in an accident, and the at-fault driver doesn’t have liability insurance, then uninsured motorist insurance still protects you. Or if the at-fault driver’s liability insurance doesn’t cover all of your damages and suffering, then your underinsured motorist insurance may still protect you.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist insurance also applies in the case of a hit-and-run, when the driver responsible for the accident can’t be identified and, in turn, neither can their insurance.
What Does UM/UIM Insurance Cover in New Mexico?
UM/UIM insurance can be applied toward both property damages and bodily injuries, as well as the medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering that come with bodily injuries.
UM/UIM coverage is mandatory for all motorists in the state of New Mexico. The minimum amount of coverage for bodily injury coverage is $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. The minimum amount of coverage for property damage is $10,000 per accident.
However, people who are insured can buy more than the minimum amount of insurance, and may even be advisable considering so many New Mexico drivers are uninsured.
What Does It Mean to Reject UM/UIM Coverage in New Mexico?
Though UM/UIM coverage is mandatory in New Mexico, there is a process to lawfully reject UM/UIM coverage. Since so many drivers in the state are uninsured, the laws surrounding the rejection of UM/UIM coverage are specific and strict, but it is possible.
Motorists must formally reject the insurance, which means they will not be covered if they are ever in an accident and the at fault driver does not have insurance, or if the at-fault driver’s insurance doesn’t cover all the damages.
The process to reject UM/UIM coverage in the state of New Mexico must be submitted to the insurance company by the individual in writing.
The rejection must include:
- Written rejection of UM/UIM coverage
- Insurance policy sent to the insured
- Insured’s information about how much UM/UIM insurance costs
If all information is not present, or if the rejection is not in writing, then the insurance company is legally required to provide UM/UIM insurance.
The requirement that rejections be made in writing was established during the 2010 case Jordan v. Allstate Insurance Co., which was heard in front of the New Mexico Supreme Court.
Jordan v. Allstate is also the case where the court decided that insurance companies must provide insureds with the premium charges for each potential UM/UIM policy. With this information, motorists can make informed decisions about their safety and insurance.
In Progressive Northwestern Insurance Co. vs. Weed Warrior Services, the New Mexico Supreme Court asserted premium charges must correspond between liability insurance and UM/UIM coverage. This prevents insurance companies from making UM/UIM insurance too high and unaffordable for everyday motorists.
Contact Harmonson Law Firm Today
If you’ve been in an automobile accident, you need an experienced lawyer to fight for your rights and damages. An accident can completely change the trajectory of your life, but Harmonson Law Firm is a dedicated team in Las Cruces that will help you win or settle your case. Contact us today to get started.